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Finance Constraints or Free Cash Flow? The Impact of Asymmetric Information on Investment

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  • Robert E. Carpenter

    (Emory University)

Abstract

Two explanations characterize the nature of information asymmetries in corporate investment-financing decisions. Models based on finance constraints argue that information-driven cost differentials between internal and external finance may leave profitable investment projects unexploited. Models based on the agency costs of free cash flow suggest that managers increase their utility by wasting resources on unprofitable investments. This paper uses firm-level panel data to empirically compare a model of asymmetric information motivated by finance constraints against the free cash flow alternative by examining the response of firms' investment to changes in internal and external finance. The findings suggest that both finance constraints and agency costs are present in the capital markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Finance with number 9401001.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 12 Jan 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:9401001

Note: 29 pages of text, data appendix, 5 tables on 4 pages are contained in a separate file. Files are word for windows binary.
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  1. Michael Devereux & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1990. "Investment, Financial Factors, and Cash Flow: Evidence from U.K. Panel Data," NBER Chapters, in: Asymmetric Information, Corporate Finance, and Investment, pages 279-306 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  3. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Financial Market Imperfections and Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
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  7. Robert E. Carpenter & Steven M. Fazzari & Bruce C. Petersen, 1994. "Inventory (Dis)Investment, Internal Finance Fluctuations, and the Business Cycle," Macroeconomics 9401001, EconWPA.
  8. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1993. "Monetary policy, business cycles and the behavior of small manufacturing firms," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  10. Gertler, Mark, 1988. "Financial Structure and Aggregate Economic Activity: An Overview," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 559-88, August.
  11. Michael Salinger & Lawrence H. Summers, 1983. "Tax Reform and Corporate Investment: A Microeconometric Simulation Study," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, pages 247-288 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz & Andrew Weiss, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macro-Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 1335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Michael C. Jensen, 1987. "The free cash flow theory of takeovers: a financial perspective on mergers and acquisitions and the economy," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 31, pages 102-148.
  17. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-76, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Alfredo Bobillo & Juan Rodriguez Sanz & Fernando Tejerina Gaite, 2009. "Investment Decisions, Liquidity, and Institutional Activism: An International Study," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 25-40, April.

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